General Fiction posted December 10, 2017


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Conest Entry.

The Marriage Proposal

by Mabaker

Old John sat reading the invitation for the tenth time. It hadn't changed. He threw it at the table, but his aim was off, the white card drifted to the floor.
"What a hide! Sending Wedding invitations out. How bloody disgusting. John doubted he'd ever been more offended.
The invitation Old John had received had not been included lightly, a lot of thought and discussion had gone into its inclusion. The talk had gone back and forth for two full days. "Will we send one to Old John?"
"You have got to be joking? He's just as likely to come at me with a loaded shotgun. No best leave him out. More peace that way. Now, what about including Mario Lanzar in the songs?"
"Yeah, I know you must be eighty and senile to listen to him. It's just after your marriage proposal I couldn't think of another singer to sing our wedding song. Can we include him?"

Therefore, Mario Lanza got included. He very nearly didn't. When the old 78 types of vinyl were finally found in someone's attic one had a scratch at about mid-point on the loveliest wedding song ever. Elvis or Shania was suggested as a substitute, but the oldies had never heard them sing and they loved Mario, so a scratch or not the record was included.

Four more ancient relatives were considered. Hell and damnation. Did they have to invite Uncle Keith? Everyone knew he'd ruin the whole day! He was a mauler from way back. He couldn't be trusted at any function that included a table, food and women, not necessarily in that order. He was a foul old bugger with hands like roaming Octopus and fingers that found every uncovered piece of female flesh. A breast or a thigh, his hands never stopped searching. It mattered not to Uncle Keith whom the piece of anatomy belonged to as long as it was a lady. With a mouthful of misaligned rotten teeth and he stank. This was strictly his own doing.

None of the female Staff at the Nursing Home would risk coming into contact with Uncle Keith. He and his creepy fingers remained mainly unshowered. He had to pong highly before sanitation decided he meet his mortal enemy, water. By then he was rank. The Staff drew straws and the three oldest, ugliest and muscle-bound lined him up and like angry crows, they descended on him. Trying not to use full bodily contact and using broom handles, they pushed, shoved and slapped a protesting Uncle Keith into the shower.
One squirted a plastic bottle of dishwashing detergent at his head, letting the bubbles do their damnedest in cleaning the crud that was ingrained on his feet, and under his fingernails. If they were agile enough, no woman touched him. That was inviting trouble in a bucket load, and where the broom handle came in handy. The bellowing and screeching row he kicked up could be heard all through the Home and strangers walking past, were informed by locals, Uncle Keith was being showered.

However, there was one valid reason why the old filth would get an invite and be seated at the top table. Uncle Keith, nowhere near senile, was loaded. He'd made a fortune when as a young bloke he'd found a gold nugget on a piece of scrubby land he'd been given in a Returned Soldiers package. He had struck it almighty rich when one nugget increased to, God only knew how many, and as he never spent a penny, everyone tried to be the one Uncle Keith named in his Will. He just smiled to himself as he reached for another cream puff. He intended to enjoy it while it lasted, after the Will reading and disbelief it would be all over, Red Rover.

Three more names were considered. Mrs Langsbury would have to be included. She was the best pianist the town had, but it took a couple of neat rums to get her in the mood, then she'd play all night with drunken abandon. That was her ticket to the wedding. What about Meriam? Oh. God. No. Not Meriam. Please anyone other than Sly Meriam.

Yeah, the local 'good time girl she was' however with one fault. Her tongue. She'd been on her back with about every man in the town and outlying farms for years. After the deed was completed she bragged to all and sundry, who, what and when.
Nevertheless, fault or not, she had to be invited.

Everyone remembered the wedding sly Meriam hadn't been invited to.
She must have been aged around fifteen at the time and her tongue had never been bridled. The Church was packed. The groom, a favourite son and friend who played football, therefore, more than half the congregation were his team-mates. The bride-to-be, a Sunday School teacher. Shy and genteel she had never even clapped eyes on, the local lay known as Sly Meriam. Until the groom turned to watch his bride walk towards him down the aisle and right behind her came every man's nightmare, Sly Meriam.

It had all the ingredients for a lovely wedding; the virginal Bride in pure white, face shrouded by a filmy veil. The handsome groom, tall, shy and so in love. Until Meriam did her thing.
When finally Meriam was dragged from the church screaming protests some fifteen minutes later, she left a stack of broken, wrecked lives in her wake. The first two minutes she just got into stride and after that, she was unstoppable. She sure as heck didn't leave anyone out! From the Indian doctor to the paperboy, schoolteacher, and Postman, four married men were named and shamed. Every date, day and time, even at one point she mentioned functionality and length of equipment. Boom. Boom! She wrecked that wedding, and a few thirty-year-old marriages went down gasping in her wake as well.

"No definitely Not Meriam, she's been invited to more weddings and graduation celebrations, she's not having ours as well." Sly Meriam got a red Biro scratch through her name.
"Okay. There are two places not filled, who's left that's safe?"
"Well, we know who not to invite. Heck, we must at least appear to want him. He is important."
"Important, perhaps. Though not essential. Lots of weddings have gone ahead without the... Is that the Postman, I'll go collect the mail?"
"Why are you looking like that? Oh. Dear me, are all those, "Sorry, can't make it." Here, show me. Hang on, here's one, "So Happy to share your Special Day." There you go."
"Yes, one out of six. Take my advice, don't go crazy with the catering, a meat pie and a beer sounds about right. At this point, there are exactly thirty acceptance guests which in include Uncle Keith and forty declines."
"Right. Now. The burning question, what do we do about Old John? What can we use as an enticement to sway him?"

"He's a moody old man, so having him and Uncle Keith near each other would be a recipe for disaster, so I won't mention Uncle Keith."
"Mention? Do you intend going to see him?"
"Well, he doesn't know me personally, therefore I have to try. That is if you want someone to give you away."
"Do I have to come with you?"
"Coward. No, his eating one of us, will be sufficient. You keep going with your list, leave Old John to me."
***
"John. Are you here?"
"What do you want?"
"I'd like to talk, if that's possible."

"I have nothing to say to either of you. You are a disgrace to the human race. Now get off my property before I turn the dogs loose."

"Okay. I'll go. However, Sir, two things for you to ponder. One why break the bride's heart, who, I might add has never done you a disservice? Secondly and privately. Your account at the timber yard. It's above being an account isn't it, Sir? If you had sufficient money, you wouldn't have had to 'book up' after the Cyclone ripped through in January.
My Uncle owns that sawmill and I do his books, that's the only way I know of the huge amount you owe. I also work at the Bank, and I have the task of sending out the "30 Days Overdue Notices." Therefore, Sir, I know exactly what state your account is in, and it's not pretty. I understand what a rough trot you and three other staunch customers are having. But you don't want the townspeople to know. That is your choice.
The Bank I can't alter, but the timber yard I can. Right, Sir, I've said my piece. Thank you for your time. Good Bye."
***
"Right, folks listen up, please. This will be the last rehearsal before the big event. Let's at least look like we are enjoying ourselves.
Now music, yes from the top again if you please. Okay, Bridesmaids, oops, sorry, I mean Bridesmaid and Best Man. Swell the music a bit more, a bit of up-tempo would be good. After all, it's a happy occasion, not a funeral. That's better. Bride, you can commence walking down the aisle now. Not too fast, dear, he'll wait until you reach him.
Father Joseph are you ready? Excellent. Solemn but sincere, that's the right tone. You can address the congregation now. All the guests, you can all look happy. I understand for some that's as close to happy as you can manage, however, do your best. Now, bride are you ready? Okay, that went alright.
Take five folks we'll have a cuppa, and let's see if there are any weak spots. This is the last practise, before tomorrow. There can't be any hesitation, not a wrong step in the performance. Everyone will be watching how you two act, how the congregation looks. Every face will be scrutinized, remember you are on show for the whole town to gawp at.
***
"Good morning my lovely bride-to-be. It looks like a beautiful day, did you sleep well?"
"You should know how I slept, you were beside me all night. It does look a lovely day. Oh, oh, that's the doorbell, it will be the first of the girls to arrive. Come in, Debbie, yes a wonderful day, you want to do my hair first? Fine. Joanne and her team will be here at eight. There's coffee hot and bread for toast, help yourself. Right, I'll sit still, now apply your magic, Debbie."
***
"Is that the time! We will be late. Bother, that doorbell! Who now. We are about to walk out the door. OLD JOHN!! Wha...please come in, come in. Of course, you're welcome. I'm sorry, just you shocked me, that is all. No, we haven't got anyone else to walk me... Yes, of course, you can. You two get Old John's suit on him, now we will be late!
Oh, John, you brought your Vintage Silver Rolls Royce. For our wedding! I don't know what to say. Thank you seems trivial. Yes, yes. What a wonderful gesture. Hold still as I pin the corsage to your lapel. Heck, I'm going to cry. I am so overwhelmed. Did you change your mind? Old John, it means the world to us for you to give our wedding the seal of approval. Heavens, I'm babbling. Right, everyone ready? Then, folk, get prepared for the camera flashes, right? Now let 's get this the first legal, Same Sex marriage off the ground.


Marriage Proposal contest entry


A small town prepares for a wedding.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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